FPSO Operator BW Offshore Buys Into Floating Wind

Image courtesy Ideol

Published Feb 16, 2021 10:30 PM by The Maritime Executive

FPSO operator BW Offshore has become the latest experienced offshore oil and gas company to buy into the offshore wind sector, purchasing a 50 percent stake in French floating wind platform designer Ideol. 

In exchange for about $70 million, BW Offshore has secured naming rights - the firm will now be called "BW Ideol" - and plans to retain about half the shares in the company after a new listing on the Euronext Growth exchange. Ideol's founders and employees will remain shareholders in the new company, and they will continue to lead it with backing from BW Offshore. 

“We are combining our four decades of offshore development, financing and operational experience with Ideol’s proven floating offshore wind technology and expertise. Together we are creating a champion in this emerging market with significant long-term growth and value creation potential,” said Marco Beenen, the CEO of BW Offshore, in a statement Tuesday. 

Floating platform technology will be necessary to reach most of the world's offshore wind energy potential: the best resources exist in deep-water locations, where lower cost bottom-fixed wind towers are not possible. Ideol has been designing and building floating foundations for more than a decade, and it has already installed two full-scale demonstration floating wind turbines, with a "sizeable pipeline of projects" in Japan, Europe and the United States. In addition to EPC services for established offshore wind developers, the company aspires to become a wind tower asset owner and operator in its own right. 

BW Offshore is best known for its fleet of 15 FSOs and FPSOs, which it runs for offshore oil and gas developers on a lease-operate business model. It announced last week that it plans to book an impairment to the value of three of its units - Berge Helene, BW Cidade de Sao Vicente and Espoir Ivoirien - due to uncertainties surrounding their redeployment or extension. The uncertainty is tied to future expectations about oil prices, with consideration to an "increased focus on energy transition," the company said.